6 Best Warehouse Management Tips
To outsiders, managing a warehouse might seem like a pretty simple task. You take in products, store them for a bit, and ship them out? Nothing to it, right? That opinion could not be more wrong. Managing a warehouse is actually a difficult job, and there are many things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that things are running efficiently and accurately. Mistakes will reflect badly on the business and any other entities that use your warehouse services.
Warehouse management means many things. For starters, there is the management of the people who work there. Plus, you need to manage and track your inventory, have an organized storage system, coordinate shipping, and handle order picking. The primary goal of a warehouse is to take all of these jobs and do them as efficiently as possible while also being accurate. This will keep costs low and keep your employer and clients happy. As more and more people shop online, warehouses have become even busier and are important stops along the way for products getting from manufacturing to customer homes. Here are some of the best warehouse management tips that will keep your operation running at its best.
Track Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
A KPI is a measure of a goal that you want to achieve. For example, one of your KPIs might be how much your average turnaround time is between receiving produce and sending it to its destination. This would help you track if there is an issue with spoilage or food that’s close to going bad getting to consumers. Your KPIs will determine how you run your operation and any choices you make daily. Keeping KPIs in mind will help you prioritize your tasks and give you a frame of reference for decisions and investments into your warehouse that you might make.
Plan Your Layout Well
Your warehouse layout will make a big difference in how well you can operate. Once your racking is put in place and pallets are stored, it’s very difficult and expensive to make any changes. You will want space that allows for easy product flow, especially regarding your most accessed items. You need space in the aisles for forklifts and other equipment and room for your staff to move around. There should be nothing in the warehouse that isn’t absolutely necessary. If you have something taking up space you don’t need, get rid of it if you can.
Invest In a Good Inventory System
The prime function of a warehouse is to receive goods and ship goods. Therefore, they need to keep track of where everything is and how much of everything they have. Many inventory systems can help make this job much more manageable. For example, you can have barcode scanning for every item and tracking that shows its location in the warehouse or at another site, plus how long you’ve had it in stock. An inventory system will then automatically update when something is barcoded out. Since there are many options, you need to choose an inventory system that works for your warehouse. It should be able to make things as easy as possible on your end and fit well with your internal processes. It’s always better to fit the software to you rather than fit you to the software.
Have a Variety of Forklifts
The forklift makes everything bearable in a warehouse. It makes loading and unloading a breeze and can put everything up in its place in your racking. There are several types, and you may need them all to make things work properly. For example, a riding forklift may not fit in the aisles if you have to turn around after placing a pallet. A standing forklift can fix that issue. There are also walking forklifts and forklifts that are valuable for picking orders.
You should also have a forklift trailer hitch to move containers that have been left by your loading door and haven’t been picked up. So you can get moving on another load more quickly and be more efficient.
Label Everything Right Away
You can’t have a functioning barcode inventory system without barcodes. Everything that comes in must be labeled accurately with a barcode, but you can’t wait to do it. There is always a temptation to bring pallets in and stage them until you can get to labeling later on. This is a mistake. It does not save time, and it can cause issues. For example, if you unload a truck and label nothing, another truck could come in soon after. Then you might end up with pallets hidden behind other pallets or otherwise inaccessible. Also, if a pallet is sitting somewhere without a label, it can cause confusion for everyone else. Neither of these situations is efficient. Label everything immediately, and you will never have something in your warehouse that is not accounted for in your inventory.
Keep Your Warehouse Clean
While keeping your workplace clean for appearance’s sake is important, it’s also a big part of a properly functioning warehouse. A clean warehouse means that there are fewer tripping hazards on the ground, for example. Plus, you want to lessen the likelihood of dirt or spills onto any goods you are storing. Having a clean warehouse inspires confidence in clients and management that you and your staff can do the job to which you were assigned. Make sure that cleanliness, like safety, is a priority daily.
More and more warehouses are operating in the United States every year. They have never been more needed, and there has never been more competition. Make sure that your warehouse is running as well as it possibly can with these tips.